Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Wednesday, 26 March - Planting

Unexciting but relaxing day today. This noon, we went to Wal-Mart and bought bags of humus/manure mix, cypress mulch, and sandbox sand for the garden. The soil here is so full of clay that when dry it bakes like brick, so it really needs extra organic material in it, hence the humus. Fertilizer (the manure) in the humus also will help greatly. The pH of the soil is generally what we need for what we're going to plant, or it can be adjusted easily, but the nutrition apparently is somewhat lacking. The sand is to mix with the clay for the carrot bed. I've always wanted to plant carrots in light, sandy soil to get nice long roots. Back in Maine the soil was so dense that the carrots were all short and stubby. Just ONCE I'd like to grow a 12" carrot!

On the way home, we stopped at the nursery just down the road. OH my, it's the largest nursery in the county, and we didn't get to see 1/4 of it. The plants are quite expensive, but the fruit trees are already several years old and have blossoms and buds, so they would fruit this year. I'm trying to convince Barry to buy another peach tree or maybe a plum so we can see how they do. He has ordered one of the type the nursery had but may cancel that order after seeing how the two trees he ordered earlier were delivered. They will actually grow, but right now they are 3' sticks.

When we got home from the nursery, Barry rototilled the front garden. I helped break up the sod and soil a bit with the Mantis tiller, but it's very hard work for that little machine. The Troy-Built tiller is made for the job, but the soil is simply so packed, Barry had difficulty, hence the assistance of the Mantis. That's the garden where we plan to plant the crops that will spread -- cantaloupes, watermelons, cucumbers, etc. It gets full sun all day long, so it should be great for those crops.

The strawberries and asparagus arrived today. Wouldn't you know, Barry was outside at 8:00 PM planting them. The strawberries are in, but the asparagus are simply staying in the "old whiskey barrel with dirt in it plant motel" until we can get those in the ground. It's supposed to rain tomorrow, so maybe by Friday that can get accomplished.

Since it doesn't get really dark until after 8:15, I can see us working outside in the evening quite easily. Remember, we're in the extreme western part of the Eastern time zone, so sunrise and sunset are about an hour each later than in Maine -- the sun rose this morning about 7:15, for example. Also the hottest part of the day here isn't at 1PM, it's often at 3 or 4 PM, so being able to work out after dinner is a definite advantage.

Upcoming events here include going to Lexington 11-12 April for two major races, the Maker's Mile, and the Bluegrass Stakes. Rick is coming over from Paducah for the Bluegrass, which is one of the most important races prior to the Kentucky Derby, the first Saturday in May. We'll be going back up to Keeneland for their Derby Party. At some point, we want (if we can afford it) to get down to Knoxville, TN and the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. There's so much to do here, we just need to keep a schedule of upcoming events going.

OK, now to take a hot shower to get unstiff -- I can only imagine how much Barry is hurting now, tugging on that tiller -- but it's a good, satisfying kind of hurting.

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